A B.C. doctor convicted of sexually molesting a child earlier this year continued to collect a regular salary amounting to nearly $350,000 during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
That’s according to the B.C. United Party, which said on Tuesday that government documents have revealed that taxpayer funds were used to pay Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s former chief medical health officer.
The political party says de Villiers was paid $346,536 despite being charged in June 2021 with sexual assault and sexual interference in Alberta between 2018 and 2020.
Interior Health’s chief medical health officer arrested
De Villiers was found guilty in February 2023 and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in June 2023.
“It defies logic that hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds were spent to pay the salary of someone on trial for such horrible crimes,” said Shirley Bond, the MLA for Prince George / Valemount and opposition health critic.
“This NDP government has still not explained why they continued to pay a child sex offender and why they refused to put him on unpaid leave until the trial was concluded.”
Bond continued, saying, “British Columbians will be appalled to find out that de Villiers continued to collect a massive salary — paid for by taxpayers — while on trial. People deserve an explanation of how this was allowed to happen in the first place and what this government is doing to ensure it never happens again.”
According to the BC United Party, de Villiers has been paid more than $700,000 since April 2021 despite being arrested and charged.
Child sex assault trial for Interior Health’s former top doctor underway in Alberta
Will Smith says Jada Pinkett Smith’s memoir ‘woke him up’
Gaza hospital airstrike reports are ‘unacceptable,’ Trudeau says
After the guilty verdict was issued, Interior Health issued a public statement saying that de Villiers was no longer an employee of the organization.
“Given the leadership and public-facing role of the chief medical health officer, and the critical importance for the incumbent to comply with all respects of professional standards, it is Interior Health’s position that a person convicted of criminal charges of this nature is unable to fulfill the duties of the position,” said the statement.
Global News has reached out to the provincial government and Interior Health for more information.
In the meantime, Bond, a longtime politician, said answers are needed as to why de Villiers was paid like a regular employee despite being charged.
“It is about asking questions about what was done to ensure that Interior Health was doing everything possible to deal with the situation,” Bond said in an interview with Global News.
“I think there’s a need for transparency,” said Bond, adding that “(government) is transparent about what’s occurring during that period of time.”
Former IH top doctor convicted of sexual assault
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.